Take five minutes a week to look for insect, disease and critter damage in your garden. By spotting invaders early, you can control pest damage. Here are four ways to keep unwanted pests out of your garden.
Floating Row Covers:
Row covers are the least toxic insect and disease control option. They allow air, water and up to 85 percent of sunlight to pass through, but act as a barrier to insects, diseases and other hungry critters. How to install:
- Drape the row cover over beds, leaving plenty of slack in the material to allow for growth.
- Bury edges in the soil and secure with rocks or clips to prevent pests from sneaking in and thriving in a protected environment.
Sticky traps are coated with glue and include pheromones that attract insects such as aphids, whiteflies, fruit flies, and other insects. How to hang:
- Hang the traps on a short stake where you have an insect problem.
- Space them 5’ apart for best results.
- When the trap is coated with insects, replace it with a new one.
Neem oil is a naturally occurring biopesticide that is safe for people, plants and beneficial insects and can be used up to the day of harvest.
Neem oil is best used in 60-85 degree temperatures. Avoid spraying plants in direct sunlight. Do not apply to plants that are stressed, either due to drought or over watering. How to use Neem oil:
- Dilute according to product directions for application.
- Spray Neem oil once a week on stems and both sides of plant leaves.
- Apply to stems and tops of plants as a preventative measure monthly, or weekly if you have a pest problem you are trying to eliminate.
- Reapply after a heavy rain.
This non-toxic powder kills insects within 48 hours. It’s an excellent defense against beetles, slugs, squash bugs and snails, plus it kills ants, earwigs, silverfish, millipedes and more. Although non-toxic, consider wearing a mask to avoid breathing it while dispensing.
- Apply the powder throughout the garden bed and the areas surrounding it.
- Sprinkle a thick ring of powder around the base of each plant.
- Sprinkle the powder on dew damp or newly watered vegetable plants after excess water drips from the plants.